Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is Social Networking a Danger to Marraiges?

PostSecret put up a new batch of secrets today, and this was one of them. It got me wondering if social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace are hurting people's marriages. At one time, I kept hearing stories about people meeting men/women in chat rooms and eventually leaving their families to turn their cyber-relationship into a real one. But with Myspace and Facebook, people aren't usually just connecting with random, faceless strangers. They're REconnecting with old friends, colleagues and--sometimes--flames. Most of the time I'm willing to bet that the contact is innocuous. But as someone who communicates most effectively through writing, I know the power of words. One of my most intense relationships flourished over email before we ever spent time on the phone or getting to know each other face to face. How many people get a friend invite from an ex-boyfriend and girlfriend or maybe even an old crush? I read something a few years ago about high school love, especially if it was the first love, being so strong. Even though it's usually a totally different love than what we experience as adults, it still stays with us because it's our first experience. And when years pass and all you remember are the good times--and the times you had when you were much younger--seeing that old flame can drudge up a lot of nice memories. So the invite shows up. They add the person to their friend list, probably with no ulterior motives besides curiosity. They look through their pictures, read their profile. Then there's a comment here, a message there. Next thing they know, they're emailing back and forth with an old flame. At this point, it's probably still relatively innocent. But things happen. There's a fight with a spouse or a problem that the "ex" seems to understand better that the "current." Things get personal. Lines get crossed.

Is this far-fetched? Anyone else think that these sites could cause problems, even with good marriages? Anyone had experience with this? Feel free to post anonymously.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reflections from the nail salon

I got a pedicure today, and it was wonderful. The owners of the salon had the news on, and we were all watching live footage from the Democratic National Convention. Well, I was kind of watching. I was paying more attention to the two African-American women sitting near me who were watching. The look on their faces was priceless. And I don't mean that in a sarcastic or humorous way. Clinton had just finished asking the delegates that Obama's nomination be unanimous. They cut to footage of Obama's plane arriving across town. Everyone in the entire convention center was going nuts, celebrating. It was a great moment, and I could tell these two women were proud to witness it. One looked at me and said, "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime."

I generally avoid politics on this blog, and I will probably continue to do so. But I had to comment on this. I don't care which side of the fence you stand on--this really is a monumental, inspiring day. I am so proud to see our country moving past race and voting for a black man. I know that there are many people--even Democrats--who won't vote for him for that very reason, but it's still a step in the right direction. I'm not sure he's the right man for the job. I'm not sure either one of them is the right man. To be completely honest, I don't know who I'm voting for. But this is progress.

We're seeing history being made.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I visited the doctor due to some strange symptoms I've exhibited lately. Turns out I have Teenager-Induced Tourette Syndrome, also known as TITS.

I have developed several tics, including involuntary reaching for staplers and other blunt objects, rapid eye blinking due to disbelief of the sheer ignorance I witness, and repetition of various phrases including, "Stop touching each other", "Listen", "Sit down, sit down, sit down" and "Where is your pencil?"

I cannot be held responsible for any sudden or profane outbursts since my TITS has brought on severe coprolalia. Fortunately, such outbursts are usually confined to the empty classroom of Terrence Morris.

Fortunately, the symptoms subside when those under the age of 18 are absent. The symptoms worsen ten-fold when surrounded by freshmen (especially those of the repeating variety).

There is no cure for TITS, though it is treated with long weekends, holidays, spring break and the months of June and July.

A Woman Scorned

Unless you've been hiding under a futon, you know that John Edwards had an affair a few years ago. I wasn't surprised to hear about it (a politician cheating being a shock?), though I was disappointed. I remember watching Elizabeth and John stand together at a press conference in 2007 when she announced her cancer had returned. It was obvious that Edwards was heartbroken about his wife's diagnosis. But Elizabeth was adamant that her husband continue his campaign. And though I'm sure there was a certain amount of self-serving in her sacrifice, she couldn't have been more sincere in her encouragement of him. In a world of reality TV that's anything but real, it was a very touching, very real moment. I admit I thought, "Wow, they are truly in love." It blows my mind now to know that at the time of the press conference, she hadn't had even a full year to deal with her husband's indiscretion.

Now, Elizabeth Edwards is being attacked by many for not disclosing her husband's affair to the media. She's being accused of "covering up" his affair to further both his career and her own. Again, I'm sure there was the fear of the affair being public knowledge, especially with Edwards running for President. But I can't understand anyone justifying an attack on a woman who chose not to blab about her husband's infidelity to the press. They've been married for over 30 years and have had four children (they lost a teenage son in a car accident several years ago). I know that his confession devastated her. But she chose to stay, to keep her family together and forgive her husband. I cannot imagine how difficult that was for her, how hurt and humiliated she must have been. And it's hard enough to repair a broken marriage in private. How in the world can any marriage survive being publicly dragged through the mud?

These Democrats who are attacking her need to back the eff off. Seriously. I'm not defending John Edward's actions, but I defending her reaction. Yes, he committed adultery. Yes, it was completely immoral. Yes, he was stupid to think it wouldn't come out eventually. But it is not Elizabeth's responsibility to get up in front of a camera and tell the world that her husband cheated. For God's sake, leave this woman alone. She's been through enough.

Of Porn and Cancer

For two years, Michael Guglielmucci had cancer. At least that's what everyone thought, including his parents, congregation and thousands around the world. With a hit song called Healer, Michael had inspired millions with his battle.

This week it was revealed that Michael doesn't have cancer. He never did. However, he did suffer with constant vomiting and nosebleeds. He lost weight and lost clumps of hair. He carried an oxygen tank with him, even on stage. He's had bouts with this mystery illness since the age of 12, events that landed him in the hospital for weeks at a time.

Michael is addicted to pornography.

An Austrailian pastor with Planetshakers (a Christian youth movement) and son of the founder of Edge Church International, Michael's illness is apparently a physical manifestation of his guilt due to his 16-year addiction to pornography. Last week, Michael confessed his secret life to his wife and family. His father has made a public announcement about Michael and his "fake" cancer. He claims Michael has been addicted to pornography since the age of 12 and has suffered from physical ailments due to his addiction and lying. Danny Guglielmucci claims that his son once spent seven weeks in a children's hospital where the doctors ran numerous tests and even removed Michael's appendix. The family thought at one point that they were going to lose their son. It was suggested that they admit Michael to the psychiatric ward for observation, but the family refused because "they felt uncomfortable with that at the time."

Michael is now under psychiatric care. The doctors believe that there were times Michael was completely convinced he had cancer. His wife is also receiving counseling.

There has been outrage from the congregation of Michael's father's church and others who donated money to Michael. The family has promised to return any donations that people request.

Michael has not spoken to the public, but did release this statement:

"As a result of this secret life of sin, my body would often break down. I would report the cause of my symptoms simply as illnesses but the truth is, that although I was ill, I did not have cancer, but again used a mis-diagnosis to hide the lie that I was living."

Is it odd that the part of this that bothers me the most is that fact that his parents refused to get their son any counseling or psychiatric care? They went against the doctors' advice because they weren't "comfortable" with it? Am I wrong to blame them, even if it's just a little bit???

My heart goes out to this man. I've never held a secret so deep that it affected me like this, but I have dealt with guilt that consumed my thoughts and made me feel like crawling in bed and not coming out. I can't imagine sixteen years of such deep-seated guilt. And I know people are going to call him a hypocrite, but this is not a man who maliciously lived some sort of double life. If he was so guilt-ridden that his body literally began to break down, then he is not a hypocrite. He is a man who is very unwell. I pray that he can find forgiveness from his family and his congregation; most importantly, I hope he can forgive himself.

Here is a video of Michael singing "Healer" at Hillsong Live:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Much More Than Less Than Zero

So my Hubby asked me last night if I noticed the new Rolling Stone that arrived in the mail. I replied that I hadn't since the days of my watching the box for a new issue ended about the same time Britney Spears began appearing on the cover on a regular basis. I only receive the magazine because my subscription is ridiculously cheap (I've been subscribing for at least a dozen years) and doesn't run out for another year and a half.

Anywho, Hubby made somewhat of a "to do" over presenting me with the magazine. I have to admit I WAS fairly excited. Robert Downey, Jr., my pretty much main Hollywood squeeze, is featured on the cover this month. There's also a couple of great shots that accompany the article. Now don't get me wrong, I value each of your opinions, but if you don't think this is a fine looking man, you're just dead wrong. And I'm not talking about, "Oh, he looks good considering he's 40+ and has lived a majority of his life high or soaked in vodka." No, Robert Downey, Jr., makes me weak in the knees. And he's not just major eye candy. He's one of the most talented actors living. Plus, he's smart, he's witty and he's fought his way back from complete and utter addiction, with five years of sobriety under his belt.

I've searched high and low for a digital copy of my favorite pic from RS, but I was only able to find the shot above. Just look at him. And this isn't the really sexy picture.

Okay, I'm through drooling now. I'm off to cut out pictures from my Tiger Beat magazine and thumbtack them to my walls.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Hard Read

I've always toed the line on capital punishment. Even as a lapsed Christian, I don't believe that capital punishment is God's will. It's hard for me to morally justify taking a life. However, the wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend part of me tends to disagree. I can't honestly say that if someone took the life of someone I love that I wouldn't want them to receive the death penalty. I hope I would be able to forgive, but I'm not sure. I honestly believe this is an issue that you can't know 100% how you feel unless you've unfortunately been in that position.

With that said, there is no one who pushes me to question my beliefs more than those who hurt children. This is mostly due to the fact that people who abuse, rape or kill children aren't human to me. To hurt a child, in my opinion, is proof that someone lacks any sort of decency or humanity.

Even though they aren't mine, I'm not sure I could control my actions if someone hurt one of the children I love. While holding Beanie Girl, I've sometimes wondered what I'd do if someone ever deliberately harmed her. The first time I held her, I thought about the stories I've read about shaken babies. I thought about the couple here in West Tennessee who were arrested for raping their newborn. I thought about the children who murdered by their own mothers. How? How can anyone hold that precious, fragile little life in their arms and have any thoughts of malice if they're human? And it doesn't stop with babies. How can someone hurt any child? How can you destroy something innocent?
This brings me to an article on CNN today. This is one of the worst things I've read in a long time.

TYLER, Texas (AP) -- An East Texas man took part in "pure evil" by helping to run swinger parties that forced children as young as 5 to have sex, prosecutors told jurors as the Mineola Swinger's Club trial began.

An 11-year-old girl then testified about taking "silly pills" and playing "doctor" with her younger brother at the club, where prosecutors say the siblings performed for paying audiences.

"They were forced to do indescribable acts," Smith County prosecutor Joe Murphy said.
"These acts were their life."

Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly, an alleged member of the club, is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated
sexual assault of a child. He pleaded not guilty.
Kelly's defense team postponed its opening statements Tuesday, when the trial finally began after several delays. Molestation charges filed in June against a foster parent given custody of the victims stalled the trial for more than a month, and began an almost constant filing of court motions.

If convicted, Kelly potentially faces life in prison. That was the sentence two others linked to the club received earlier this year.

"This case is about pure evil," Murphy said.

Kelly is accused of helping start a "kindergarten" where the children learned to have sex with each other and dance provocatively. From there, the children graduated to the sex club, which was a rented-out former day care and hospital in the tiny railroad town of Mineola.
To help the children perform, prosecutors say, the adults gave them Vicodin-like drugs passed off as "silly pills."

During a sometimes anguishing four-hour cross-examination of the girl, defense attorneys asked about the pills she took and where she got them.

"Do you remember what they tasted like?" asked Tina Brumbelow, one of Kelly's attorneys.

"Old fish," the girl replied.

The girl, who wore a black bow in her hair and said she now likes watching television shows like "Hannah Montana," also led jurors through a sketch of the club she had drawn for investigators. In one box, in a child's scribbled handwriting, "SEX ROOM" was written.
The girl was scheduled to continue testifying when the
trial resumes Wednesday.

John Cantrell, who was given custody of the girl and her siblings, is charged in California with sexually assaulting two of his foster children in 1990. Anthony Finkas, his attorney, has said Cantrell is innocent.

Margie Cantrell, John's wife, first told authorities in 2005 about what the children revealed to her about having being forced into sex inside the windowless rooms of the former day care.
Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison after jurors deliberated less than five minutes in both trials. Four other defendants in the case are awaiting trial.

I SERIOUSLY cannot think of anything bad enough for these people. In fact, I don't think they deserve death. There are things worse than death, and there should be something "special" put together just for them. What happens to people that makes them do these things? Are some people born evil? Is this a result of some sick childhood trauma? Are there people who literally lack a conscience?
And what happens to these little ones now? What kind of life can they possibly have after what they've experienced?
Don't worry about being overprotective. Protect your children. Don't second guess yourself or let anyone "shame" you when it comes to your child's safety and well being. There are so many sick people in the world.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Birthday Indulgence

People who share my birthday:

Conrad Aiken (I sat on his grave)
Giovanni Boccaccio (Allegory anyone?)
Neil Armstrong
Loni Anderson
Maureen McCormick (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!)
Patrick Ewing

On a slightly unrelated (and macabre) note, Marilyn Monroe died on my birthday. Nelson Mandela was also arrested. And William Wallace was captured.

Totally depressing. Going to go eat some cake.

I'm starting a petition

This can't be happening.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of Kat(i)e Holmes with tight-rolled pants. Much to my dismay, it seems that this trend has returned. I'm pretty sure I knew a girl in the 80's who lost a foot to tight-rolling. True story. She rolled too tight and it cut off the circulation. Obviously, it cuts of circulation to the brain because the L.A. Times did a write-up in Sunday's paper claiming that this trend is so back.

According to the article,

"t feels right partly because denim has been decidedly buttoned-up recently,
with hard-to-wear skinny jeans or flat-front, trouser styles. The peg-and-roll
is all about ease. It doesn't hug the form -- it grazes it."

Okay, I agree a little. In the past couple of years, it's been difficult to find "non-mom" jeans that didn't require me to shave my pubic area on a daily basis. And let's face it, the only women who should wear skinny jeans are those who are skinny. Just say no to the muffin top. But are we really resorting back to tight-rolling? Is there no other option? What's next? Stone wash? Button fly? Hammer pants???

Here's another picture of Katie. At least it's an improvement from the previous picture I posted. Tight-rolled jeans, black socks and open-toed shoes is the holy trifecta of horrible. The ballet flats keep her from looking like a dementia patient. Someone needs to tell her that those things are bad for her feet, though. I ended up with a wicked case of fasciitis from wearing those jokers. Seriously. Just call me Musollini.

Wait, that's not right is it?

Anyway, I refuse to do this. I don't care if it becomes so popular that people on the street point and laugh. I will not tightroll. Nuh-uh.

I'm not opposed to rocking a side ponytail, though.

If you'd like to read the entire article, check it out at,0,1962864.story?track=rss

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wow, they look like... babies.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sold the first pictures of their new twins for $15 million. The issue of People magazine containing the pictures--spread over 19 pages--goes on sale Monday.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure these babies will grow up to be as adorable as older sister, Shiloh, but right now they're just babies. Yes, they're special to their family, but they could have swapped their babies with two others and no one would know the difference.

I'm still not sure how I feel about selling pictures of your child. I understand celebrities wishing to dissuade paps from endangering lives for a snap of their babies, but fifteen million??? At least they're going to donate their money to charity. That's very kind. Kind of creepy, but kind.

And what is it with all the twins in Hollywood? Brad and Angelina. J-LO and Skeletor (I never can remember his name). Dennis Quaid and his wife. Now I've read that Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn are having twins. Are twins becoming a trend? What's next in Hollyweird? Triplets? Quads? Conjoined?

Busy as a...

The summer is over. On Wednesday, my students will return to school. And BOY are there going to be quite a few of them.

As you probably know, high school teachers generally have a planning or work period during the day. Ideally, this is time when s/he can grade papers, plan lessons, run copies, call parents or just sit at the desk and take a breather. It's not like I can get everything done on my planning period, but it's an hour less I have to spend working at home or after school This year, I won't have a planning period. All grading, planning, calling, etc., will be done on my own time.

On top of this, I will be teaching eight classes. Our school is on block scheduling, but I'm going to be teaching 9th grade English. The freshmen will take English all year, but they will alternate between my class and a reading class; therefore; I'll have groups 1-4 on Monday, groups 5-8 on Tuesday, 1-4 again on Wednesday and so on. It's daunting enough to learn that many names (those of you who have had me as a teacher know how bad I am with names), but my biggest worry is getting everything graded, especially essays.

It's going to be a long year, and I don't feel remotely ready for it. I have in-service meetings tomorrow and Tuesday and an open house at school on Tuesday night (so much for celebrating my birthday). I'm yet to finish setting up my room, and I don't have the first lesson planned.


Okay, though complaining now. Going to go and get my clothes ready for tomorrow. Hope you all have had a great weekend!